How Flexible Workplace Design Answers The Open Office Question

Deciding between dedicated vs. agile seating, and incorporating elements of hospitality are all successful strategies for making open office plans work. Much of the current workplace discussion centers on the open office. The primary pitfall of the open office environment has been acoustics. Employees are free to store their belongings in any available cubby strategically located throughout the office and take any available chair, sofa, hanging bed, bench, stool, stair landing, or spot on the floor next to a dog bed and get to work. As observed in the company’s San Francisco office, this extreme open office solution is well-suited to how the employees want to work. Despite the potential challenges, the workplace can take into account culture, how employees want to work, and constraints of the physical structure, flexible design creates a workplace that works for everyone. Alan Gerencer is an architect and interior design principal in ZGF Architect’s Portland Office.


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